A paycheck Life Happens is working to spread the idea that health is an important, insurable asset. (Credit: Thinkstock)

 Today, tomorrow and for many years to come, the most important asset your clients have is their ability to earn an income. It may not be sexy or exciting to talk about disability insurance (DI), but the chances that your clients will need DI at some time in their lives is high. One in four of those in their 20s will become disabled before they reach retirement age, according to 2020 data from the Social Security Administration.

Clearly, the risks of becoming disabled are high and the repercussions of not having DI can be incredibly detrimental to your clients, their families and their businesses. In a new survey, Life Happens found consumers without DI will take drastic measures to make ends meet, decisions that can negatively impact their long-term financial health: 38% of consumers would cash out their investments and 30% would pull funds from their kids’ college savings if they were unable to work and didn’t have DI. And — according to the “New American Milestones Survey,” which was released earlier this year by Life Happens — more than a quarter of them would ask to borrow money from a friend!

Disability Insurance Awareness Month

And this May is the perfect time to talk to your clients. Life Happens, a non-profit focused on educating consumers about the insurance products you sell, has been coordinating the industry-wide Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM) campaign every May for the last 14 years.

(Related: LIFE Gears Up For Second Annual Disability Month)

We know DI can be a confusing topic, so we use real stories of Americans whose families and businesses have been financially protected by DI. We make these stories and other educational resources available to agents and advisors so that their clients can better understand how DI can provide peace of mind, if and when “life happens.”

This year, we are excited to have our new DIAM spokesperson, Scott Rider, sharing his real story about how life forever changed following a diagnosis of Parkinson’s when he was only 47. Thankfully, Scott was already well-versed in the world of insurance products, since he was an insurance agent and had purchased individual DI as a young agent to supplement what he had through work, and then kept adding to it as his salary increased.

Although his new life is very different to what he had planned, his DI has protected his and his family’s lifestyle. Here’s Scott’s video. In the video,  he demystifies DI and shows how critical this product is to anyone earning an income.

While we, as an industry, work together to reassure consumers and provide them with some much-needed reassurances during this time of great change, we can help many rest a little easier by helping them understand that their income can also be protected. This DIAM, and beyond, take three steps to better protect your clients from the unknowns:

  1. Share Scott Rider’s Real Life Stories video with your clients and explain how straightforward it is to get disability insurance.
  2. Tweet, share, post disability insurance content using the #DIAM20 hashtag so that more consumers are reached with this message about income protection.
  3. And let’s do this together. Life Happens promises to continue pushing our consumer messages about DI, but we need your help. You are the expert — your clients look to you for financial advice so keep those DI conversations going.

We are living through unique times, where a global pandemic is making us all very aware of how fickle life can be. Given how DI can mitigate the risks associated with becoming sick or injured and the potential loss of an income, more consumers need to know about how DI can insure their ability to earn a living. And know that Life Happens will continue educating consumers about this financial product year-round, because although DIAM comes to an end each May, we know the need to protect your clients never does.

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Faisa Stafford (Life Happens)

Faisa Stafford, LUTCF, is president and chief executive officer of Life Happens, a nonprofit that educates consumers about the importance of life insurance, disability insurance and related products. Life Happens Pro provides digital marketing and social-media resources for agents and advisors.